Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Darkstars #6

Art directors were suffering from some weird brain parasite in the early 90s.

In the 90s, the way you could tell the difference between men and women in comic books was that men's faces had full of lines to express tension and rage and determination while women's faces were smooth blank canvasses to express their beauty and their lack of a nose. No wonder I hardly date in the 90s. A woman would start flirting with me and I'd think, "Ugh! She's got too much nose!"

People think 90s comic art was all about lots of pouches and big guns. But it was just as equally about lines all over men's faces, gritting teeth, clenched fists, adult women who look no more than fifteen, and characters that had one weird eye because drawing symmetrical eyes is hard.

The issue begins with Darkstar and Homeless Mo flying off to help Flint stop the space sex slave traders. Homeless Mo can tell something's bothering Darkstar because he has even more lines on his face than normal. Homeless Mo says, "You look way more like a male character than usual. Is something bothering you?" And Darkstar is all, "Let me tell you the story of the day everything went wrong and I lost my innocence about the job and I became a cynical bastard who flaunts the rules because the rules can't save anybody!"

Darkstar's origin is that his planet was destroyed by a race raiding it for resources. He was one of the few survivors and was approached by a Darkstar to join the force. He did because what else was left for him? Also maybe he could help some other poor planet. When he finally got his chance to help out, he screwed up and everybody on the planet under his protection died. So now he's bitter and angry and guilt-ridden. But he's still got a job to do so he's going to stop pitying himself and do it. Plus he'll probably need to beat whomever he suspects of doing anything wrong and maybe kill them because playing by the rules just didn't cut it for the people on Jenuwyne.

Zack Morris could be jerking off into Steve Urkel's mouth while the Spice Girls girl powered each other's buttholes and it would be less 90s than this page of art. Not?

Hawkman and Hawkwoman stumbled upon the space sex slave traders when they tried to kidnap a friend of theirs. Apparently she and Carla White are the only two women worth missing on a massive rocket ship filled to the brim with kidnapped women. Also, did Hawkman lose Superman's number? He could have just called him to stop the ship and then...oh wait. Never mind. I forgot Superman is dead. Loser.

Oh man. I'm so sexist. I mean, oh woman. I'm so sexist. I assumed only women were being taken as space sex slaves but there are male humans in shackles aboard the ship too. That seems weird because why kidnap men when you could just tell them, "Hey, you want to have tons of sex with strange and exotic space women?" And then before they heard you mumble "and space men too," they'd have already been shouting, "Yee-haw! I'mma gonna get my dick space wet! Whoopee!" If that reaction doesn't ring true as a universal way of pre-celebrating the coming loss of your virginity, forget I even said it.

Somebody needs explain Earth slang to Colos and also the term "Phrasing!"

Hawkman slips into a hatch on the slaver ship before it closes. Weird to still be closing hatches in the middle of a space launch but since I don't work for NASA or Space X, I can't say if that's all that improbable. I'm sure it's totally fine. Darkstar and his sidekick follow close behind Hawkman but since the hatch is closed, they have to smash through it. That also doesn't interfere with the launch. I'm glad I know nothing about the incredible frictional forces and heat build up produced by launching a large metal ship out of Earth's atmosphere or I might now be stroking my chin and shaking my head while mumbling, "Oh, come on!"

Also it's a fucking comic book so who cares? As long as some people get masered and Hawkwoman shows more ass and cleavage, the audience is going to come back for more.

Hawkman is crying because another man saved his life. On Thanagar, that means you're now Hawkwoman.

That last caption may have sounded like a sexist joke but it was commentary about the hyper-masculinity of Hawkman. He probably also said, "No homo," after being saved and then punched holes in five different walls.

Meanwhile, Hawkwoman and Detective Jamón-Face continue fighting the space sex slavers on Earth.

Here's half of what the audience is clamoring for.

Even Hawkwoman must be tired of Hawkman's toxic masculinity or else why would she call him half-cocked? What an insult!

Darkstar Flint and Hawkwoman stop Pappas and his alien crew. Flint takes off to leave the clean-up to Hawkwoman and the cops. But before he leaves, he shoots his maser at people so the audience can get the other half of what they want out of this book. Is "Darkstars" an anagram of "tits and masers"? Close though, right?

This was the most practiced pose in 90s super hero comics.

What were we fucking smoking in the 90s?! I only say "we" metaphorically; I fucking hated this style of art even back then. There's a reason I don't own Wild C.A.T.S. #1 or any of the other debut Image books. I didn't even pick them up for investment purposes! Don't think I didn't buy my share of crap though! I kept buying The New Titans well past issue #100; it's just that I didn't buy crap simply because everybody was raving about the new kinetic art style by a bunch of young up and coming artists who probably had high school year book quotes like "Why would I study anatomy?" and "Thigh legs are as thick as torsos, right?"

I just discovered, six issues in, that Homeless Mo's name is Douglas. How did I get it so wrong?! That's the most rhetorical of rhetorical questions. I could go back through the issues to see why I thought his name was Mo but that feels like work. Also, I probably just forgot his name and made up Homeless Mo subsequently fooling myself into believing that was his real name.

What the fuck?! Darkstar just called him Douglas in the previous panel!

Well, I guess that solves the mystery. His name must be Mo Douglas and he's homeless. Grandmaster comic book reader?

As Darkstar and Mo and Hawkman break into the slave pen, Carla White rallies the other prisoners to pick up the fallen guards weapons and fight back. They respond by throwing their fists in the air and yelling, "Yeah! We can fight too!" But things don't work out too well for them because they aren't established characters.

If I ever wind up in a battle for my life and I'm killed, please do not chastise me for giving up.

With the help of Carla White, Darkstar, Mo, and Hawkman take control of the slave ship and turn it back towards Earth. Darkstar stares at Carla and begins calculating how much gold he brought with him to see if his budget can afford another deputy. Although judging by the next issue's cover, Carla will just be taking over Detective Flint's job.

Darkstars #6 Rating: B. Was this the type of guest appearances that go us comic book readers so fucking excited back in the day?! Hawkman and Hawkwoman could have been any character at all based on the level of interaction they had with the other characters. I guess all we comic book fans need to be happy is somebody in our favorite character's costume and we'll dish out the cover price of books we'd otherwise not read. On one hand, I think it's poor form for DC to use Hawkman and Hawkwoman so shallowly just to get fans to buy this book. But on the other hand, I hate Hawkman so fuck his fans.

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